Is there an idiomatic term or expression in modern day AmE for what in the UK is designated by the shared "B&B"/"bed & breakfast", and seemingly by the originally FrF expression "chambre d'hote" [an accommodation offered by an inn, hotel, or especially a private home, consisting of a room for the night, and breakfast for the next morning at an inclusive price, but also the hostelry itself]?

Also, what do you Americans call what in FrF is referred to as "table d'hôte"?

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    Yes, Americans call it a "bed & breakfast", especially if it's a private home or a small hotel. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:19
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    table d'hôte is used in English, in two senses. Originally in the sense of what I now hear being called the chef's table, and more often nowadays as set price menu or fixed menu.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:19
  • @PeterShor what is a hostelry compared with a B&B?
    – Elian
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:23
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    Are there any American establishments that call themselves "hostelries" today? I thought that word was archaic. (I can find ones in the U.K.—where they seem to be playing up the antiquity of the establishment—and in Asia, where they presumably don't realize it's an archaic word.) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:31
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    Google Ngrams shows "hostelry" to have been mainly used between 1850 and 1950 in both the U.K. and the U.S. My estimate of when it was current was off by a century or two, but my impression is that it is outdated today. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


B&B or Bed & Breakfast are rather common terms.

They are typically a room in a residence or former residence turned small hotel. The proprietor is typically the owner. And, as the name suggests you get a bed and breakfast for the price.

In AmE, B&Bs are typically very quaint places found in rustic locations. If you look rather hard, can find a Bed & Breakfast in a major city, but major hotel chains tend to dominate there. But, because of the identity with rustic locales, it carries the notion of a "romantic getaway".

You would typically not bring children or family to a B&B.

A small hotel with inexpensive rooms of varying quality is known as a motel. A portmanteau of motor and hotel. The notion is a hotel for motorists which requires no reservations. You would bring children or families to a motel.

Motels have a wide variation in quality from "seedy" (meaning a place to pick-up prostitutes and hide out from the police) to polished, clean, but inexpensive national chains.

The two French terms you mentioned have no currency in AmE. Table d'hôte has largely been replaced by terms like Chef's table for the original sense of a "host's table". Or prix fixe menu in the more modern sense.

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    I have to disagree with you on one point: there are bed and breakfasts in most major cities. You do have to make an effort to look for them, as large hotels are quite a bit more common, have a lot more beds, and are easier to find on the internet. (But not much of an effort … Googling "bed and breakfast" with the city name typically finds them.) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:56
  • @PeterShor I guess you are right. I'll edit to reflect that.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:01
  • @DavidM David, I can't seem to latch onto what is meant by "vacation" herein en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_d'hôte
    – Elian
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:22
  • @NourishedGourmet I'll be honest. Neither can I. Wikipedia is edited by the crowd, sometimes oddities slip through. If you, a Frenchman, don't understand the context, it's likely invalid.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:27
  • I would absolutely bring children to a Bed and Breakfast in North America. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 19:24

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